Tag Archive: space travel



Cidney Swanson has me under her spell. I love all her books. I feel so fortunate to be able to be an early reader for her. I am especially giddy when she writes about Mars. This latest series is called Shadow of Mars. This was book three. This one is so new it isn’t even listed on Amazon or GoodReads yet. When it is, I will copy from here the parts about her book and paste them there. Usually, it is the other way around. I write the review on GoodReads, then copy to Amazon, and then here on WordPress.

I want to put the picture up here, too. But I don’t know if that is even okay yet. So I’ll do the best I can with my words.

Just a quick blurb, since there isn’t one to grab out there, I’ll see if I can give you a bit of what has happened and what this book is about. Book one was So Dark the Sky, in which our main character Penny Wanjiru, a school teacher, finally gets the chance to go to Mars. But leaving her elderly grandmother makes the decision difficult. Book two was So Bright the Stars, in which Penny is on her way to Mars. This third book is So Still the Dawn, in which Penny is on Mars and wondering if she is going to get to stay.

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love and have loved science fiction, especially space travel. Cidney writes to my inner kid to teen. Especially in her Saving Mars series. But this series is aimed toward adults. Even though I would have read it as a youngster. I read too many of men getting to go to space. They were kids. They were adults. I wish there had been women in space novels who weren’t eye candy. Ms. Swanson makes you feel more that the adult in the book isn’t so much a wimpy woman crying for romance but an adult who happens to be a woman who is brilliant in her own way.

Another wonderful thing Cidney does in her books is dive deep into the character’s psychology. All those creeping thoughts we record early in life that make us feel unworthy or wrong for what good could happen. Cidney brings that forward and helps us to grow with the character. Go Cidney!

Okay, I don’t want to spell it out for you or give you spoilers. As soon as the book goes ‘live’, I will make sure you can go get it. I highly recommend it!


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So Dark the Sky (Shadow of Mars Book 1)So Dark the Sky by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW! Where were books like this 60 years ago when I was forced to read about adult male astronauts goggling over the Barbie Doll robots or aliens? I love Cidney Swanson’s writing and story-telling are excellent. And what a relief to read about an adult female who is accomplished in her own right, who loves and cares for her grandmother, and who needs to choose between her life long dream and continuing taking care of the woman who raised her.

It isn’t a spoiler to know she gets to travel in space. ‘Shadow of Mars’ is the series title and ‘So Dark The Sky’ book one. YAY!

As I always have to mention on a Swanson review, I loved her Saving Mars series for young adults. This new series is more adult but I know I would have loved it in seventh grade. How wonderful it must be for young women now to be able to enjoy science fiction and see people who are like themselves. A woman astronaut is a possibility now.

I want to write so much here because I loved this book so much. But I don’t want to take away from the readers’ experiences. I know I will read this again soon as I can’t think of a better way to get ready for book 2!

Enjoy, PLEASE!
Thank you, Cidney for writing a book for girl me! And I’d love more from Grandma’s point of view since I’m closer to her age.

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Acorna's People (Acorna, #3)Acorna’s People by Anne McCaffrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About a decade ago I was lucky to get first editions of a lot of Anne McCaffrey books. I think I’ve read all the dragon books. Now I am trying to get through the Acorna series.

As much as I love McCaffrey’s writing and imagination, I find I am not as excited about this series. I feel let down as the title seems to be that the story should center around the Unicorn Girl. But it seems to be about the bad guys and some of her people. I felt nothing of her or for her. I did like the salvage guy and his cat but that’s all.

Okay, maybe it was because it took me so long to read. My eyes have a hard time with printed material. I can do a little at a time. A page or two. And so it has taken me more than a year and a half to get through it. Still, because I own it and I love the author I kept at it until I actually finished.

I see that other fans loved this series so I blame my eyes. And I have ordered the next in the series so I can collect the whole series.

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Acorna's QuestAcorna’s Quest by Anne McCaffrey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It has been a couple months since I finished reading this book. I must admit to not remembering much about it at all. I’m currently reading the next book in the series and so I’m confusing the storylines.

As much as I loved Anne McCaffrey’s dragon books, the Unicorn Girl series is less about the Unicorn Girl than it is about people who want to use or abuse said star of the books. As much as I love space travel books, this was more about bad guys and good guys who happen to know the girl while in space or on other planets. So sad.

I was fortunate enough about a decade ago to buy first editions of the hardbacks of a lot of McCaffrey books. But now that I have the time, my eyes have a hard time with printed tomes. I bought this Kindle version to aid in my reading. I wish there had been an Audible version as it might have helped.

Just to encourage those stuck in this book, the next in the series does give you a bit more time with the Unicorn people. I hope I haven’t discouraged readers of this series. Keep on and find the good parts and hang on. We need fantasy/sci-fi to escape the noise of our every day lives stuck on Earth.

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Acorna: The Unicorn GirlAcorna: The Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is no secret that Anne McCaffrey has been one of my favorite authors of all time. I think it is within this decade that I was in a bookstore in Reno that had some pretty good deals. They told me that they had just received a huge collection of First Edition Anne McCaffrey’s books. I nearly passed it up. I’ve never been rich monetarily. I figured I wouldn’t be able to afford it. But being a store that wanted to keep their merchandise moving, they actually quoted me a price for the whole collection that I could afford.

But I was working and found that reading “real” or “tree” books hard for my eyes. And I was always tired with fibromyalgia. So the books sat on my shelves.

When we moved here the McCaffreys sat in a box until I got a new bookshelf. Now they are out on display so I can’t resist. Except reading the old way is slow. So I try to keep my paper bookmark where I am in the Kindle version and read a bit when I can.

Luckily, I’ve been collecting the Kindle versions of Anne’s treasures. At least this one has text-to-speech. I kind of hoped for Audible but they don’t have this book. It’s okay as I can speed up the listen-rate to 2x and get through a book in no time.

As much as I looked forward to Acorna, who wouldn’t want to read a story about a unicorn girl? I have to admit that as much as I love her writing style, I found this book wasn’t so much about the girl as it was about child slavery and the men who found the girl. You never get to see her point of view, even when she grows up. Still, Ms. McCaffrey and Ms. Ball cover the issues well and made a good story. I am already into the next book and I see the plot continues with other people. Acorna is still not showing up personally. Maybe that will change soon.

I still liked the book and can’t wait to see what happens in the series.

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The FrescoThe Fresco by Sheri S. Tepper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hate it when I do this: read a book, finish before I’m sleepy, start a new book and nearly forget to write my review of the last book! Boo! Me! And this book deserves reviews!!!

My friend, Kay, gave such a marvelous review that I knew I had to read it. I highly recommend it!

It has everything. Aliens, other planets, other points of view. The main character is female, Benita, who finds herself in a bad, abusive marriage. She is looking to get out and not be found.

What finds her is new opportunities the likes no one would expect to happen. That is all I can give you without feeling I’m spoiling it for you.

Needless to say, there is adventures and space travel, and meeting alien beings. Like all good sci-fi, this has a lot of philosophical, political, social, and spiritual commentary. Much of it tongue-in-cheek humor that may cause snorting of the hot tea if not careful.

If you get the chance to read this, you should. I’m sorry that it isn’t loanable. Seems many Benitas out there might not be able to afford it but would benefit from the read. Benitas need humor, escapism, and ideas. In fact, I think everyone could learn something and enjoy this story.

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Review: Shafter


Shafter Shafter by Margaret McGaffey Fisk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twelve year old Darlene would have LOVED this book. Yet at 64 I love it even deeper. As a kid, reading about Trina’s adventures on her home world while dreaming of space travel would have captured my heart, as that was my dream. As an older adult, I can see the fuller picture that includes the choices Trina and her sister, Katie, must make as they grow to become adults.

 

Feminism embraces these choices. The old world explorers knew some of these choices. Stay with the family you know or explore. Meeting new people and finding yourself in new family happens, our population wouldn’t be so large if that wasn’t the case. But then which dream to do you follow? Do you stay or do you go? Can you live without your loved ones? Would they want you to? All these questions are addressed within a tight, well-written story I didn’t want to leave.

 

You know those tales you leave with sadness, that make you read slower to savor your time with the characters but the plot won’t let you? Yeah, that’s what happened to me with this book. I am so glad to know Margaret McGaffey-Fisk! Maybe I can put peer pressure on her to make this a series? What an excellent read!

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Review: Striking Mars


Striking Mars
Striking Mars by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the best sci-fi series I have ever read. Lots of space travel and well researched situations to keep the reader engaged. Check out my reviews on the previous four books to feel my glow. I am so excited that there is going to be yet one more book that I totally turned ‘Fan Girl’. As soon as I finished reading this book last night I wrote to the author to gush and beg for the next one. Gosh, I can’t wait to read six. It is supposed to be out this Spring, yet another reason I want Winter to LEAVE!

Once again, I am so impressed with the main character Jess and her autistic (?) hacker brother, Ethan. There is a lot of enjoying time on Mars through the family left there, time on Earth, and even time on the Moon. It was just so much fun!

Please do yourself a favor and grab the triology for $2.99 Then enjoy a great adventure. Then follow up with the science links that Ms. Swanson puts in the back of the book. It is worth every penny!

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